When the Australian Taxation Office calls
Many of these calls may be just about the last lodgement – but they could also be chasing a considerable number of lodgements, or a mounting tax debt that you may be struggling with. Of course, calling Your Business Angels PTY LTD to deal with the ATO can relieve pressure from you and help you with any negotiations and also with the problems that caused the debt, but meanwhile while you decide you still have to deal with the Australian Taxation Officer who calls you.
So here are a few rules we suggest you follow when a case manager from the Australian Taxation Office calls
- Take the call, don’t ignore it. Find out what the call is about so you understand what they wants. Remember there are various tax departments, so they may be calling about lodgement, they may be calling about PAYG and superannuation audits or they may just be asking about something quite simple. But start the conversation. Don’t ignore then.
- Always be well mannered, and calm when you talk to them. If you are feeling frustrated and angry, say so “look I want to have this conversation with you another time, I’m a bit upset”. The ATO officer is doing their job and don’t need any abuse (they probably get enough of that).
- Find out what really is being asked from you or what the Australian Taxation Office is planning. Write it down as you talk to them so that you are clear on what they want. You may have thought they would call you for another reason. At this point we recommend that you end the conversation and make a time to get back, so you can answer properly, or seek help with what you are facing (perhaps a good time to call Your Business Angels PTY LTD).
- After you finish talking to ATO, please remember to take name of the person you talked with. Also ask them their number to call back on. Also never forget to take a Receipt Number of that phone conversation.
- Don’t make a promise you can’t keep. If the call is about a tax debt, then the officer will be pushing to have the debt cleared as soon as possible. Remember, that any arrangement with the ATO will also require you to maintain compliance, which is to pay the new BAS and other debts as they become due. This may be a big financial strain on your business, so it’s best to plan how you will pay, and make an offer once you have taken time to work out what the business can afford, to stay compliant, pay the old debt and have enough to run the business.
- If you have a tax debt and the ATO is calling you for that, then never mention to them that you have a financial problem / crisis. The ATO seems not to take this into consideration and they may take further action without delay.
- If they ask you for business viability information to set up the payment plan and if you don’t have accurate accounts, then please never provide inaccurate information to complete a viability test as giving wrong information may create even further problems for you and dilute your credibility in further negotiations.
- Remember, not everything has to be dealt with in the first few phone calls. But also you can’t ignore them, as the ATO will escalate the action to garnishee notices (they take money out of your bank account), court writs, creditors statutory demands, audits and court writs.
If of course dealing with your problem and the Australian Taxation Office is all too hard, give us a call to look at your business and set a plan in place.